Philly releases first urban forest plans

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Philly has launched its first urban forest strategic planning process as part of the city’s sustainability goals. 

According to a press release, the plan will put together a decade-long strategy to protect, grow, and care for Philly’s tree canopy and help residents combat climate change. Officials have dubbed the plan, “The Future of the Urban Forest.” 

The plan is set to provide recommendations to Philly, and it’s partners to help make Philly become more tree-friendly. To help start the process, Philly hosted a “Tree Summit,” which was a meeting comprised 100 of environmental educators, Philly’s leading arborists, community leaders organized by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and the City’s Office of Sustainability at the Discovery Center in East Fairmount Park.

“The launch of the Future of the Urban Forest planning process is an opportunity to accelerate efforts from across Philadelphia to protect our tree canopy and improve quality of life and health outcomes for residents,” said Mayor Jim Kenney in a press release. 

Kenney added, “Creating a safe, sustainable, and enjoyable place to live is a priority of our administration, and I am confident this process will deliver a plan that promotes new ways to increase tree canopy to benefit the health and sustainability of all neighborhoods and for all Philadelphians.”

Advice for the 10-year Future of the Urban Forest plan will come from 2019 Philadelphia Tree Canopy Assessment. It’s been about a decade since the first Philly Tree Canopy assignments, according to a press release. Since the initial assessment, Philly’s overall tree canopy decrease by 6 percent between 2008 and 2018.

The first step of developing the Future of the Urban Forest plan is to issue a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) and find an expert to lead it. The leader will be determined by a team, which have representatives from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Philadelphia Office of Sustainability Fairmount Park Conservancy, Philadelphia City Planning Commission, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, US Forest Service, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Morris Arboretum, and Penn State University.

This step of the process will somewhere between 12 to 18 months. The Future of the Urban Forest Plan has been funded by the William Penn Foundation and has some additional support from TD Bank.

A press release states that there will be a series of public meetings to get feedback. For updates and meeting locations and times, you can sign up for their mailing list

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